Artist Sarah Oppenheimer and curator René Morales talk about Sarah’s project titled S-281913, an architectural intervention at Perez Art Museum Miami.
This New York-based artist is known for challenging our ideas about architecture and our experience of space and light. The context for her newest work is a recently built environment. Architects Herzog & De Meuron designed the young art museum in response to Miami’s natural and cultural environment. Sitting at the edge of Biscayne Bay with panoramic views of the city, the building itself has been a popular destination ever since it opened in 2013.
Sarah’s project in the Meyerhoff Green Gallery represents a ground-breaking moment in her practice. That’s because the ‘S’ in the title of the work stands for ‘switch.’ Sarah has been researching and testing the idea of an architectural “switch,” an element that intervenes in or influences how we move across and through a space. The switches that she invented are beautiful and flexible.
In other words, S-281913 has kinetic properties that visitors can activate. Here’s how it looks and operates: inside the gallery, two large, identical rectangular glass boxes seem to hover in space, each suspended between a pair of dramatically slanted black metal shafts anchored to the gallery’s ceiling and floor. Strategically positioned, and outfitted with a complex system of hidden joints, the shafts allow the glass elements to pivot gracefully. Visitors can give a gentle push and set in motion a surprising array of perceptual encounters. You see, each glass box surface serves as mirror, wall, or window, depending on its angle and the time of day. An individual can power the switch to alter his or her view of the floors, the walls, the ceiling and the world outside the gallery, all the while offering new visual experiences to other visitors. Listen to this episode to hear the ideas behind the work.
Sound Editor: Guney Ozsan | Descriptions of S-281913 reference René Morales’s essay on the project.| Photos courtesy Sarah Oppenheimer and Perez Art Museum Miami